Learn More About Asherville
by Pat Lynch
to be one of the oldest although not one of the larger towns in the
Solomon Valley. John Rees, one of the first settlers, had a grocery
store at the town site as early as 1867.
Rees came to
America from Liverpool, England, in 1841, locating in Pennsylvania and
Missouri before enlisting in the army during the Civil War. While in the
army he rose from a private to major.
After the war, he
came to the Asherville area on April 26, 1866. He was elected to the
state legislature in 1872, held the office of Justice of the Peace for
10 years, and was postmaster for seven years.
He was the first
postmaster in Mitchell County, the Asherville post office being
established in 1869. His son, Sherman Grant Rees, was the first white
child born in Mitchell County. Rees also claimed to have sold the first
dry goods and groceries in Mitchell County.
The village of
Asherville began in the early 1870s as a part of the Rees homestead. It
was plotted and laid out but never incorporated. The plat was recorded
with the registrar of deeds on March 15, 1902.
John Rees did his
best trying to be a one man chamber of commerce for Asherville. The
following letter from John was published in the Junction City Union
on February 19, 1870.
February 8, 1870
Asherville, Mitchell County
This country was
first settled in the spring of 1866 - nearly four years ago - then a
desert-looking place. Buffaloes and Indians were all that could be seen,
and owing to the oft repeated murdering of our citizens by Lo has
retarded the settlement to a great extent.
Troops have been
sent here several times for our protection, except the company of U.S.
troops sent here from Fort Hayes last spring, commanded by First
Lieutenant Edward Law, G Company, 7th Cavalry, in the company of
Lieutenant March. These officers and men bore a noble part in trying to
protect the settlers of this valley, going night and day to all points
where any alarm was given and in fact were the only company of men in
the regular service who seemed to take interest in protecting the
During those four
years, 16 of our settlers have been killed - only one being killed in
1869. This was owing to the troops sent here, and I am in hope that we
will be blessed the coming summer with the same protection as that of
I under stand
there are to be troops sent here by the 1st of April next, but I am
afraid that if we have an early spring that Indians will certainly come
in before that time. But as an old saying, "better late than never."
Since the talk of
running a railroad up this way, immigration seems to pour in here as
thick as grasshoppers did the year of the drought. Bur let them come: we
had good crops last year and have some grain to sell.
The sandstone is
found in the bed of the river, forming nine or ten No. 1 mill sites.
There are already three mills under process of construction, one by Mr.
Marshall 2 1/2 miles west of this place and 5 miles west of the east
line of the county. This mill is in the heart of one of the best valleys
in Kansas. Here would be a good place for a store, as we have none in
the county. Our blacksmith, Mr. Mauk, is an old Kentuckian and knows how
to do work well at low figures.
Farther up the
valley we come to the Willow Spring, 11 miles west of the east (county)
line. Here Mr. Hersey of Abilene is constructing a saw and gristmill.
They have laid out a town to be called Beloit, and with the expectation
of the county seat. As the county is, as yet, not organized, it will be
somewhat mixed to tell where it will be.
All who want a
home of 160 acres of land, under the homestead law, by simply paying
$14.50, and proving settlement of the same for five years, come out and
A word to the
ladies: If you want to get married, come out here, as we have a host of
bachelors; but be sure to bring plenty of means with you, for that is
the excuse "can't support a wife until I raise a crop."
---- John Rees
Among those killed
in the Indian raids in August 1868 were David Bogardus, Braxton Bell,
and Elizabeth Bell. Two girls, Ester and Margaret Bell, were captured
but later recovered. The small Bogardus-Bell Cemetery north of
Asherville is a monument to those pioneers who first settled this land.
In the year 2000
Asherville Township could still boast 122 souls living within her
boarders. Through the years it saw the coming and going of the Rees
grocery store, a school, and a bank. Today commerce exists in the form
of a modern, thriving grain elevator and acres and acres of fertile
Solomon River "bottom ground." You will find the Heritage Alliance kiosk
on the west side of the road jus as you come into town from the north.
The landowner, Richard Anderson, welcomes visitors and encourages them
to get out and look at his collection of antique farm equipment. Also be
sure and check out the Indian raid victims' cemetery one mile north of
Asherville just off old Highway 24.
Man Of Nature